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  1. #1

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    Polaroid camera to help set up studio lights?

    I am beginning to learn about studio lighting for portraiture and fashion images. It is of course rather hard to set up strobe/flash lights and get a definitive sense of how they will look when using exclusively film cameras, as you don't really find out until the film is developed. The evil part of me thought maybe I should buy an older model di**tal SLR, but that would be very bad indeed. I remember when we lived in Connecticut, we used to know an Old School commercial photographer that used a Polaroid camera to help verify his lighting setups.

    So my question: What would be a suitable/highly affordable Polaroid camera for this purpose? And what format Fuji film would I need for it? I am assuming something with sufficient manual settings that I could set it up with the aperture etc I would be using for my "real" shots.

    I could probably get an older model DSLR for $200 or so and that may be the way to go, but it seems highly heretical, and if I can keep my activities fully entrenched in the world of film, that would be highly desirable. It is very hard for me to fathom the notion of a robot with a lens on it. So before anyone gets highly agitated -- this post is indeed 100% about "analog" photography.

  2. #2
    donkee's Avatar
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    I have a 195 Polaroid that i used to use for the same reasons.

    A fully manual Polaroid, unless you find it on craigslist from someone who is clueless, will not be cheap.

    What are you using now? It is possible that a polaroid back may be available for whatever system you are using.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by newcan1 View Post
    ... but it seems highly heretical, and if I can keep my activities fully entrenched in the world of film, that would be highly desirable. It is very hard for me to fathom the notion of a robot with a lens on it.
    So let me be the one to give "D" some love. It might be desireable to stay fully in the world of film, but for the part of the process for which you are considering Polaroid-like products... "D" is very practical.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by newcan1 View Post
    So before anyone gets highly agitated -- this post is indeed 100% about "analog" photography.
    p.s. So before anyone gets highly agitated -- the prior post was indeed entirely about photography.

  5. #5
    ColdEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    So let me be the one to give "D" some love. It might be desireable to stay fully in the world of film, but for the part of the process for which you are considering Polaroid-like products... "D" is very practical.
    +2 I'd say go with digital on this. :P buy a cheapish old dslr and it will work just fine. I had a polaroid 320 and I dont remember it having connections for a flash (maybe the other models have).

  6. #6
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    Commercial photographers didn't use polaroid cameras to test lighting. They used Polaroid film in specially made polaroid film holders that attached to medium format cameras in place of the normal 120 film back, or that fit in a 4x5 camera's film holder slot. The results needed some interpretation because Polaroid film gave a different look than the E-6 films most of them used for the final image. I think an old digital SLR would be best for this today, given the extreme cost of instant films now; I wouldn't see it as a 'sin' by APUGs ethic because you're still going to use film for the final image.
    Chris Crawford
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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  7. #7

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    You can find Polaroid backs for some 35mm SLRs for very low prices now, if you look. The image isn't full size, but if you just want to proof your exposure and lighting, it will work. Getting a medium format camera with a Polaroid pack film back might be better than the 35mm ones, and it could be cheaper than a dedicated Polaroid with manual settings. In any case, you'll want the Fuji 3x4 pack films (peel-apart, not integral film). As far as I know you can get 100 ISO color and 3000 ISO b+w.

  8. #8

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    OK all -- I read through the comments and -- well -- forgive me -- I went "D" for this purpose. But I PROMISE I will only use the "D" to set up the lights. The photographs I use will indeed be on film. Now I have some Portra 160 and Fuji Pro S 160 to try out, and I may have to get and try some of the new Portra 400. The big looming project is catalog shots for my daughter's new fashion design business.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by newcan1 View Post
    ... But I PROMISE I will only use the "D" to set up the lights. The photographs I use will indeed be on film. ...
    Now you have fully redeemed yourself! Good luck with your photo project, and your daughter's design biz.

  10. #10

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    ...just use the phone on your camera for lighting reference and learn how to meter better and you won't have to spend a dime. If you can see how the light reacts with your subject from a shot on your phone (I'm assuming you have a phone that takes photos), then pull out the meter and take the appropriate readings based on what your preference is. This is assuming that you have pretty good visualizing skills and you are a little beyond the basics of metering.

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